The Golden State Warriors, needing something approaching perfection to deal with the San Antonio Spurs, reached that level Saturday.
As a result, the Warriors, badly beaten in the first game of their best-of-five series, got even with the Spurs with a 111-98 victory that was decided by an overpowering streak of basketball beginning late in the second period.Not even a bomb threat, which forced spectators to scurry out of the HemisFair Arena at the end of the game, could dampen the Warriors' enthusiasm.
"We played a near-perfect game today," said Golden State Coach Don Nelson, who was forced to conduct his post-game interview in a hotel across the street from the arena while police conducted a precautionary search of the building.
"We don't think we are a better team than San Antonio. But we did everything right today."
Chris Mullin scored 27 points and Tim Hardaway added 20, but it was the Warriors' defensive effort and the 19 turnovers it created that helped tie the series at 1-1. The teams will next meet Wednesday night in Oakland.
The eventual outcome was determined during the final three minutes of the first half and the first three minutes of the second half. In that stretch the Warriors outscored the Spurs, 17-0.
"I hate to say this," said Golden State's Mitch Richmond, "but I think we played a perfect game. Our defense was much better today, and that gave us the opportunity to free up our offense to take care of business. This is a very big win for us."
David Robinson led San Antonio with 28 points, but with two minutes left in the third quarter, he had managed only 12.
"We didn't move the ball well all day," Robinson said. "We are not a jump-shooting team, and we gave them the advantage when we shot a lot of jumpers like we did today."
"Nobody can really control David Robinson," Nelson said. "He still had a good game today. We're probably going to have to come back here for a fifth game."
Terry Cummings scored 26 for the Spurs, including eight in a late charge that cut the Warrior lead from 99-81 to 99-89 with 4:21 left in the game.
San Antonio's effort was hampered by the loss of forward Sean Elliott, who suffered a broken nose during a rebound scramble early in the second quarter. Spurs officials said Elliott would be available for Game 3.
Willie Anderson, who scored a career high 38 in the first game for the Spurs, had 19 Saturday.
The Spurs jumped to a 10-2 lead and with Mullin opening up cold from the outside it appeared San Antonio might be able to run away with the game. But Golden State scored eight in a row late in the first period and grabbed a 27-26 lead after one quarter.
When Elliott left the game early in the second period, the Spurs' defensive effort waned and the Warriors built a 46-35 lead.